September 11th, 2008
01:50 PM ET
14 years ago

Rove to Obama: Attacking Palin is dumb

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Karl Rove is offering unsolicited campaign advice to Obama ."]

(CNN) - Karl Rove is again offering unsolicited advice to Barack Obama, this time advising the Democratic presidential nominee to avoid attacking Sarah Palin directly if he hopes to win the White House in November.

“It's a match-up he'll lose," Rove writes Thursday in his regular Wall Street Journal column. "If Mr. Obama wants to win, he needs to remember he's running against John McCain for president, not Mrs. Palin for vice president."

Rove notes past attempts by Democratic presidential nominees to attack the No. 2 on the GOP ticket have largely fell flat, and says the issues Obama is hitting Palin on are ones the Illinois senator is weak on himself.

"If Mr. Obama keeps attacking Mrs. Palin, he could suffer the fate of his Democratic predecessors. These assaults highlight his own tissue-thin résumé, waste precious time better spent reassuring voters he is up for the job, and diminish him - not her," Rove writes.

Specifically, Rove says it is not in Obama's interest to attack the Alaska governor on her lack of experience or the earmarks she has requested - two issues, Rove says, on which voters may also question Obama's record.

Since she was named to the GOP ticket two weeks ago, Obama has rarely called out Palin directly, often attacking both her and McCain together as representing a continuation of President Bush's policies. But in an interview on CNN last week, Obama suggested his executive experience surpassed Palin's.

“My understanding is that Gov. Palin’s town, Wasilla, has I think 50 employees," he said. "We've got 2500 in this campaign. I think their budget is maybe 12 million dollars a year – we have a budget of about three times that just for the month."

He also on Sunday called out her claim she is an anti-earmark reformer, saying "I know the governor of Alaska has been saying she's change, and that's great…[but] when you've been taking all these earmarks when it's convenient, and then suddenly you're the champion anti-earmark person, that's not change….you can't just make stuff up."

Filed under: Karl Rove
soundoff (494 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Rove works for the McCain campaign and is also a contributor to FOX "News" and Newsweek. Now he's giving advice to Obama?

    Where is this guy coming from, and why is he given a platform?

    He is one of the most morally corrupt and filthy politicians of the last century, and yet we look to him for his opinion, as if we don't know what it is ahead of time.

    He is paid by the McCain campaign. It's a fact.

    September 11, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  2. MIKE

    Rove please shut up already. What about this...Rove attacking McCain in 2000 was Now supporting him wow...
    More inrestingly supporting the man you said was retarded and coulnt be trusted for sanity?
    We all know what you do best slander, mud slings as so on. It would have been better if McCain didnt call you into his campaign. Now i see he his really becoming despirate. Poll of polls still deceiving everyone, McCain knows he his not leading in the pols enlist Rove ...pathetic

    September 11, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  3. MikeH

    While I think Rove is a scummy felon and committed treason, he's right.

    Obama has Biden to do the attacking, make Biden do it.

    Obama should also continue to use the 'Lipstick on a Pig" phrase and even ratchet it up to include campaign commercials using the pig imagry. Embrace this icon, don't back down. Let the Republicans howl, and completely ignore them, stick with the issues. There is such a target-rich field of fire with McCain's and Palin's lies.

    September 11, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. Ariana

    Having a close-up picture of Rove should be a crime!

    September 11, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  5. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    So she won't go it alone on the campaign trail...gee, what did you think would happen. However, she does have to go up against Joe Biden in Oct with the VP debate. McCain is not good on his own, so it's no wonder they are keeping them together.

    September 11, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. Central Scruitinizer

    Cant we do something to keep Karl Rove sidelined??? His brand of sleaze is more than welcome to the repubs but i wouldnt mind seeing the election not contaminated with his bs.

    September 11, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. Joshua

    Why is anyone paying attention to Karl Rove?
    Why has he not been forced to testify?

    September 11, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  8. Obama-Junkie, IL

    Only a dummy like Karl Rove would discuss Palin politics on the 7th Anniversary of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks!

    Why is Rove not discussing America's resolve and unity on that day? Or why not talk about the where Bin Laden is or the status of Al Qaeda now?

    September 11, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  9. Leif Crick

    When exactly did Obama attack the moose shooter? Oh, I see what you're doing, Karl- Repeat the lie often enough until people start believing it-

    How very You of you, sir. Quite Rovian.

    September 11, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  10. FreeNLovIt

    If you want America to be the best it can be, WE the PEOPLE need to DEMAND it!

    In any given year, I wouldnt have cared about VP, but McCain is old and we need to make sure, SHE is STRONG enough to carry all the problems on her shoulders.

    Bush, as strong as he is and stubborn as he is, has problems, grasping Iraq, Palin will not match it.

    A leader needs to have judgement, vision and patience.

    September 11, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  11. The vp became the first lady.......oops

    Karl Rove, thank you for your advice.
    By the way Obama will still win in a landslide come Novemeber.
    Keep Rove and Palin talking.

    September 11, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. Eric

    Seriously, Rove is right. This is the second time I've watched him give correct unsolicited advice to Obama. People don't need to hear Obama talking about Palin, the media is going to tear her apart day after day after day without Obama pointing a single thing out. Let that run its course. (Continute to) Focus on the fact that McCain's avoiding all policy discussions, how he can't even give a freaking speech without Palin to lean on, how bad the economy is doing, etc.

    The sneaky part about Rove's move here is only that he knows we'll probably, out of spite, not want to take this key advice and shoot ourselves in the foot. It's a poker move, read it right Obama.

    September 11, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. where is everybody??

    Should Obama win the presidency, he should tell the Democrats to kiss his @#!. He is out there all by himself. Where is his support? Where are all of the top Democrats? Where is Maxine Waters? Where is Sheila Jackson Lee? I give the Repugs credit for one thing, they stick together from top to bottom and they repeat the same lines over and over and over like a broke record. Democrats can’t seem to get around having a black male nominee for president. The Repugs could nominate a camel and they would act like that it was the best thing in the world for America and they would stay on point and never sway no matter how screwed they know the decision was. Got to give them credit. We Democrats can’t seem to get it together even when the White House was handed to us on a silver platter.

    September 11, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  14. Unempressed

    Rove knows Obama was answering a question about Palin right? He didn't bring her up.

    He also hasn't really been attacking Palin... but I do see an attempt by Rove to make it appear as though Obama has. Look at the phony "outrage" the McCain camp had yesterday and their last two ads – both making it appear Obama is "ganging up" on Palin in an effort to get sympathy voting. is debunking literally all the claims in these ads and point out that Obama never said any of what McCain is claiming he or his camp is saying.

    September 11, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  15. JJ

    Ok but isn't this a double standard???

    Why is it okay for Palin to attack Obama and insult him but he can't do the same to her????

    If they don't want Obama to go after Palin, then the McCain camp should stop writing Palin's speeches targeting and insulting him. She's fair game!

    Talk about calling the kettle black!!!!!

    September 11, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  16. Kim, Georgia

    Rob, you sound like you need to be in jail with ROVE!!!

    September 11, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  17. Morningstar


    September 11, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  18. tony

    It's over or Rove wouldn't be giving Obama good advice ( Which this is ) Obama has just be acting very non-presidential lately-
    He is suffering from what all other Dems are suffering From–
    PDS ( Palin Distress Syndrome ) Don't you get it-The PEOPLE like her and the more the Media and that new man on MSNBC ( which absolutely nobody cares about ) Say negative things about the more they are drawn to her - His biggest mistake and Biden Admitted it yesterday ( Clinton should be VP but Obama wanted to prove he didn't need her and look whats happen-An inexperienced move by an inexperienced Candidate-
    Keep it up News Organizations-
    The right man will be in the WHITE HOUSE-

    September 11, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  19. No way, no how, no McCain!

    Karl Rove, please GO AWAY!

    Seriously, haven't you ruined my country enough? Do you ever shut up?

    September 11, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  20. Tony

    Palin is such a phony and she and McCain are two of the biggest liars and hypocrites to come along in politics in teh alst 25 years or more.

    Palin is so transparent, has NO EXPERIENCE, will use anyone including her own children to get what she wants and climb the political ladder.

    Nothing nor anyone is off limits to her. She plays the gener card when it suits her needs, uses her oldes son, her unwed pregnant 17 y.o. daughter, and even her bay who suffers from Down Syndrome.

    She calls herself a good mother. Absent and out of touch mother is more accurate. Only ignorant, apathetic women are falling for her b.s., and most white women who vote republican across the country.

    I believe that most Democrats and Independents vote for the candidates whom they think will be best for the country, themselves, and their familes, whereas the REPUBLICANS always vote Party, rather than whome is best for the job.

    Such hypocrisy is nauseating. Right out of the republican playbook.

    September 11, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  21. NC Man

    Yes it is dumb and attaching McCain and Bush together is dumb, too. The battle for President is between McCain and Obama.

    It appears Obama has let a hockey mom get to him, if he can't handle a hockey mom how can he handle Russia, Iran, NK, and other countries.

    September 11, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  22. Darrel from Denver

    If Rove is giving a warning it means we have hit bone. Beyond that, Rove is a clear spinner and his comments are not worth my time to review or discuss. This guy is a clown, a criminal, and a spineless jerk who will not appear before anyone looking for the truth. He hides behind the skirts and apron strings of those who love him and spouts off his garbage for any to hear.

    Having said that, I agree that Obama needs to focus on McCain – after all, it's his candidacy and not Palins.

    Further, Palin will self-implode once the media get done with her. Obama does not need to attack her any longer. Even further, once the Dem 527's are unleashed, she will be cooked.

    September 11, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  23. Brandon for Obama

    I see where Rove is coming from I guess...I think Obama should focus on McCain.

    HOWEVER, he should encourage Gov Palin to do the same. She was the one who initially began to slam Obama. Belittling his experience as a community organizer and such and drawing comparisons between herself and Sen Obama.

    And as the article points out, Obama has not called out Palin specifically -and I won't even give merit to the lipstick/pig comment, b/c McCain said it himself.

    Palin should keep her mouth off Obama and stick to policies.

    September 11, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  24. AD

    Rove the Retard. The Republican campaigners have taken this thing so out of context it is laughable. Freaking morons. Obama is the last person to appear sexist. McCain himself uttered the same remark for Hillary's policies more than once.

    September 11, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. kenda

    It's called Propaganda folks!

    September 11, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
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